Gypsies and Travellers are a recognised ethnic minority and have lived in Wales for hundreds of years.
Many Gypsies and Travellers now live in bricks and mortar accommodation but others have chosen to continue their traditional way of life of living in caravans.
There are several authorised private Gypsy and Traveller sites in Newport, usually owned and occupied by a single family.
Planning permission must be obtained by anyone developing a private site before moving onto it.
There is a council-owned residential site at Ellen Ridge and applications for a pitch on this site can be made on the Home Options Newport site.
The adopted site allocation policy (pdf) details how pitches are allocated.
Some areas also have transit sites which are used for a temporary period by Gypsies and Travellers passing through, there are currently no authorised transit sites in south east Wales.
An unauthorised encampment is on land which is being occupied by Gypsies or Travellers without the permission of the owner, usually for a relatively short period of time.
Along with Gwent Police and other partners, the council has signed up to a Gwent Wide Protocol on Managing Unauthorised Encampments.
The purpose of the protocol is to:
- provide clear guidance on what to do when an encampment occurs
- ensure that encampments are being dealt with in a way that complies with legislation
- balance the rights of those occupying the unauthorised encampment with those of local residents and businesses
- implement a framework for decision making on what to do when an unauthorised encampment occurs
- to promote community cohesion and prevent the social exclusion of Gypsies and Travellers
The type of land that the unauthorised encampment is on dictates what action the council can take:
If it is on land not owned by the council we can provide advice to the landowner but it is up to them to take action.
If the encampment is on council-owned land we will follow this procedure:
- visit the site as soon as possible and make an assessment about the condition and location of the site, including any issues it may present to local residents and businesses, and any welfare needs of the occupants
- Relevant partners will be made aware of the encampment. The information gathered through the assessment is used to make a decision about whether to tolerate the encampment or to require its removal
- If the decision is made to tolerate an unauthorised encampment, the occupiers are provided with a code of conduct they are expected to follow. If they do not follow this, a decision to take action to evict the encampment may be made
- If it is decided to evict an encampment, the council needs to apply to the court to obtain an order and explain why the encampment cannot be tolerated. If an order is granted this is served on the encampment giving a date by which they must leave
If you are aware of an unauthorised encampment please report to Newport City Council on (01633) 656656 or email email@example.com
Unauthorised developments refer to sites that have been developed without planning permission and should be reported to the council's planning team.
Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment
Part 3 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 requires all local authorities to carry out a Gypsy Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) for their area and submit it to the Welsh Government for approval.
Newport’s GTAA, carried out in 2015, has been approved by the Welsh Government and is used as part of the planning to meet the future accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers in Newport.
Download Newport's Gypsy Traveller Accommodation Assessment (pdf)
Advice and support
If you are a Gypsy or Traveller living in Newport and need help finding suitable accommodation help may be available from:
- Gwent Gypsy Traveller Service, (01633) 833540: support in finding and managing suitable accommodation
- Travelling Ahead, 08088 020025, www.travellingahead.org.uk: support and advice to Gypsies and Travellers living in Wales.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.